Hello and welcome to our latest newsletter! We're excitedly counting down the days to the first live performance this year, at Concorde 2, Brighton on Saturday 26th August! Of course, Brighton holds a special place in mod cultural history, boasting a rich heritage of mod connections dating back to the 1960s, and the later mod revival era, as well as being featured in the iconic movie Quadrophenia. Along with the subsequent annual mod bank holiday events, Brighton could be considered the mod capital of the world! Surprisingly then, until last year, Squire had never set foot in Brighton for a show! We were finally invited to perform there for the very first time at the ‘This Is The Modern World’ event last August ! Now, a year later, we're thrilled to be back, and we're hoping this will become a regular event for us!
We've been hard at work rehearsing a brand new set of songs to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the release of the Get Smart album!
As you know, Squire has an extensive repertoire, and we love tailoring our live sets around different albums or conceptual themes. In the past, we've started the set by faithfully playing the original 1979 Mods Mayday set, performing all six songs played at the Bridge House concert in the exact order they were played! On other occasions, we've featured predominantly songs from 'Hits From 3000 Years Ago,' which gives you a taste of the ‘mod revival’ era Squire. Recently, we've been mostly selecting songs from 'The Singles Album' and ending the set with a series of Squire's soul-inspired tunes, creating a pop-oriented explosion of mod pop bangers!
While the set has always included a song or two from 'Get Smart,' we've been somewhat hesitant to attempt playing these songs in the three-piece format. After all, the album is embellished with horns, strings, and keyboards, making it challenging to replicate fully on stage. Despite that, we have performed most of the songs from 'Get Smart' on stage at various points in time!
This set list from a headline show in Birmingham in 2011, shows we played three 'Get Smart' songs in a row!
The ‘Get Smart’ anniversary this year provided an excellent opportunity to re-explore the songs and revisit the original demos and mixes, while searching for potential tracks for a possible special release. What became apparent was how the album pre production sessions had progressed the arrangements from basic song demos with just vocals, guitar, and handclaps to testing some of the songs live on stage, before deciding on the final track list.
For instance, both 'Stop That Girl' and 'You're The One' appeared on the 'Fan club Album' before the formal 'Get Smart' recording sessions, and ‘Stop That Girl’ had a slightly different melody. During the actual album recording sessions, we laid down the foundational song structures as a three-piece band, performing live together in the studio, just as we did on stage.
While studio enhancements can prevent replicating the exact recorded sound on stage, they might also mask the original energy that initially made the song stand out. However, the alternative basic version remains an excellent song! Listening back to these early rough studio mixes now brings back the original strength of the songs that sparked the idea of taking the album to the next level.
As we progress through the album, we're rediscovering each track, uncovering the key rhythms and riffs that define the essence of every song. And the results are fantastic! It's been a rewarding journey rediscovering these tracks and reflecting on their evolution, and gives us the confidence to bring them back to the stage! Now, the challenging part comes as we bid farewell to some existing stage favourites to make way for new favourites!
The Brighton date affords us an hour long set so you can expect to hear a very ‘Get Smart’ oriented celebration! The later dates with Secret Affair usually extend to 45 minutes, and with Squire that means five less songs! So we will have the difficult task of trimming some songs from the set. We would be interested to hear your thoughts on what to include / let go! However, we will, no doubt be substituting songs as we go to try out different ideas, so the set will evolve during the tour.
Lastly, on a similar note but from a different angle, the idea of taking a studio album not originally intended for live performances and adapting it to a live setting to explore how the songs come alive, revealing insights into their writing, arrangement, and recording process, serves as the focal point of Chapter One in a new book titled "Musical Psychedelia!"
Back in 2017, Anthony participated in a remarkable event in Belgium, joining Alain Pire's band and nearly 30 other musicians to recreate The Beatles' iconic Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band LP on stage, complete with strings, horns, sitars, backing singers, and more.
This extraordinary occasion served as the inspiration for the chapter that has recently been published. Keep in mind that as an academic book, it comes with a higher price tag. However, you can get a sneak peek through the Amazon preview - simply follow this link!
The book explores how, similar to the construction of the Squire LP 'Get Smart,' The Beatles managed to uphold their band dynamic even amidst the exotic instrumentation and sound manipulation while entering the studio to record Sgt. Pepper.
They would play the backing track together before incorporating orchestral elements and experimenting with speed, distortion, and tape effects. During the initial run-through, McCartney would often switch to piano, or guitar, allowing him to later add a melodic bass part. However, it was the band's interaction during this process that formed the bedrock of each track, giving rise to the unmistakable Beatles sound in their arrangements.
Likewise, with Squire's 'Get Smart', the original three-piece sound continues to serve as the foundation for the songs, and that is precisely what you'll experience during our live gigs!
Hope to see you there!